Teens Tweet Group Sex Video, Get Hit with Child Porn Charges

Josh WolfordTechnology

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Four Joliet, Illinois teens could spend the next few years in a juvenile facility after posting a group sex video on Twitter.

Three boys, aged 14, 15, and 16, and one girl, aged 15, were arrested after the girl's mother notified police of the footage, which was circulating around Twitter. All four teens have been charged with distributing child pornography.

Of course, it's more complicated than that. Did the teens technically distribute child porn? Yes, it was a group sex video involving minors. But they were the minors in the video. Can teens really be charged with child porn if it's their own body in said "porn"?

Yes they can, and have. Over the past few years, with the rise of sexting, smartphone cameras, and social media, states have been scrambling to figure out how to deal with teens' technological expressions of sexuality.

Teen sexting laws vary from state to state – with some having already penned new laws to address the practice. Other states, however, can only consider the act of disseminating your own naked photos and videos as child porn.

Illinois authorities have chosen the latter route in this case.

“The child pornography offense that was charged is in place for a reason, because we don’t want to accept that type of behavior as a society. It’s making a strong statement, and I think it’s important to do so, to send a message to others that kids shouldn’t be involved in this type of behavior, and hopefully this will serve as a deterrent,” said Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton.

Did you catch that? There's a huge problem with this logic, and Benton's statement reads like the laws are in place to legislate morality, as opposed to really protecting children. Don't like what teens are up to? Threaten them with lifelong sex offender designation. That oughta do it.

“It’s an incident you may not recover from,” said Benton.

Exactly. Are we really going to put teens on sexual offender databases for the rest of their lives for being kids and making arguably dumb decisions? I'm sure we can all agree that posting a sex tape on Twitter is ill-advised – especially for a 15-year-old. But is it really a sex crime?

Image via Thinkstock

Josh Wolford

Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer.

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